Solar Electric is more than just a solar installer – we love solar and we are passionate about what we do. Since the day we started Solar Electric over 20 years ago, we wanted to make sure that everything was done right and done with purpose.
Established in 1987, one of the country’s original solar electric providers, Solar Electric provides complete sustainable living solutions by integrating the best alternative energy products and services for each of our customer’s unique grid-tie, stand-alone, and hybrid applications.
A "Short" History of Sun Solar
1987 Solar Electric opens its doors in the heart of San Diego and we sell our first solar module under the passionate direction of Michael Collins. Located in Harbor Island, we begin selling and installing stand-alone (battery back-up) systems to boat and RV owners from all over the world, establishing us as the battery experts.
1987 Our product line includes Arco solar modules, Specialty Concepts's Mark VI charge controller and HelioTrope power inverters.
1987 We design and install our first cabin system in Baja California, Mexico—quickly establishing our expertise in Baja solar power systems and the harsh and unique conditions that characterize these systems. Today, our systems can proudly be found in entire communities up and down Baja Sur.
1988 Solar Electric’s CREG charge controller is developed and brought to market, the first of four generations of controllers over the next decade.
1989 We outgrow our Harbor Island location and move into a new - larger - location off Morena Boulevard in San Diego. The move allows us to expand our solar showroom, one of the few solar stores in the country, and increase manufacturing and product development capabilities.
1990 One of the country’s largest Earth Day celebrations gets solar power provided by Solar Electric. Held in San Diego’s historic Balboa Park and produced by EarthWorks, the fair attracts an average 50,000 people with hundreds of exhibits and live performances--many requiring electricity which the park does not have. 1990 is the beginning of a long tradition of supporting the Earth Day Celebration and providing event power.
1991 We proudly add UniSolar’s groundbreaking line of solar modules to our product offerings.
1992 Again, we outgrow our Morena Blvd. location and we move to our Santa Fe Street location in San Diego where we remain for the next 15 years. In addition to a 2000 sq. ft. solar showroom and larger manufacturing capacity, the freeway exposure from Interstate 5 not only helps us grow, but allows us to better serve our customers including a growing number of Baja residents.
1993 Solar Electric SELLS ITS 19,000th SOLAR ELECTRIC SYSTEM! We now design, sell and install systems for customers all the world including the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Bahama’s Europe, Australia and parts of South America and Asia. A very short list of customers includes: US Border Patrol, San Diego Port Authority, Los Angles Power and Water District, United States Navy, Grainger, GrayBar, Mexican National Government, and EMCOR.
1993 Integration continues on the Torrey Pines Glider Port in San Diego. The stand-alone system provides power to the café, store and offices.
1994 SolarElectricInc.com makes its debut on the world wide web, one of the first solar companies and online stores of its kind.
1997 We install one of the first building integrated photo voltaic (BIPV) residential solar systems in Southern California. This residential 4KW interactive grid-tie with battery back-up system features UniSolar roof shingles and a Xantrex SW Series power inverter. One more interesting fact about this system that makes it so unique is that it was installed before the introduction of any state or federal rebate or incentive program. This Encinitas, CA system is regularly featured in regional and National Solar Home Tours.
1998 California re-introduces rebates for small solar energy systems. This program launched the residential interactive grid-tie market in California. Our wholesale sales dollars triple just months after the introduction of the program and our nationwide dealer and professional installer network doubles. The last rebate program in the state expired at the end of 1985. After the success of this program, many states over the next few years introduce their own rebate and incentive programs including Colorado, Hawaii, and others.
1999 The onset of Y2K marks one of the busiest years up to that point in Solar Electric’s history. People were in a solar frenzy during that December!
2000 In keeping with our long standing tradition of training electricians and end-users how to use and install solar systems, we train California Building Inspectors how to inspect interactive grid-tie and battery based solar systems.
2002We design and install our first 35KW commercial solar electric system in Southern California thanks to the 2001 expansion of the state’s rebate program for larger systems—over 30KW. The growth of commercial systems does not “take off” for a few years when the Department of Energy launches tax incentives making commercial solar installations more affordable.
2005 Our founder, Mike Collins, passes away. A true solar pioneer, Mike is missed. His objective was to make solar as inexpensive as possible so more people would have access to solar. Damian Gutierrez, a true solar pioneer in his own right, and Mike’s partner, takes over the reigns of the Solar Electric.
2005 Sun Solar is created and focuses on system design, integration, installations and project development and consulting for new systems around the world. Solar Electric continues to focus on worldwide sales and distribution of solar and alternative energy systems and components.
2006 Sun Solar spearheads the system design, integration and installation of Mexico’s FIRST interactive grid-tie system. The pilot program in MexiCali, Mexico was for URBI, Mexico’s third largest residential developer and was sponsored by both the Mexican and Canadian Government. Each of the homes featured a Xantrex GT Series power inverter and PhotoWatt Matrix solar modules.
2006 ICP Solar, a solar module manufacturer asks Solar Electric to help develop a new BIPV S tile for S tile roofs. The original S tile is designed for Spain’s quickly growing PV market and is then modified for the United States market and other parts of the world where Spanish Tile roofs are popular. The tile is also later modified to accommodate slate and other tile roofs.
2006 Solar Electric launches its own line of solar modules interactive grid-tie and stand-alone solar modules and charge controllers as more and more manufacturers discontinue low voltage solar modules. Not only do the modules meet market demands, but they are introduced at price points that continue to allow us to keep solar affordable without compromising on quality.
2006 Solar Electric helps WesPower design the GreenMeter, a function rich meter designed for stand-alone and hybrid solar systems.
2006 Under the Coleman brand name, Solar Electric designs solar battery charger systems for major retailers including CostCo.
2008 Solar Electric designs stand-alone solar power systems for emergency housing to be used after natural disasters for the United States Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). Our unique combination of nationwide distribution, installation and design capabilities make the relationship between Solar Electric and the home builder is attractive to FEMA.
That’s why we do everything in-house and only hire and train the best in the business.